Ellsworth Blackwell (August 1, 1902 – April 17, 1978). Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community. Source: Baha'i World, Vol. 17.
Ellsworth Blackwell (1902 – 1978) was an African-American Baha’i who was dedicated to sharing the principles of the Baha’i Faith in America, Haiti, Madagascar, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In this article I would like to share a challenge he faced when confronted with racism within the Baha’i community, and how his commitment to justice, combined with wholehearted co-operation with the governing or administrative bodies of the Baha’i Faith, allowed this instance of prejudice to be resolved while maintaining a unified spirit.
Ellsworth became a Baha’i in 1934, and in 1937 he decided to serve at the Wilmette House of Worship (the Temple was not entirely completed until the 1950s, but it was open to visitors and Baha’is volunteered as tour guides). He had the capacity to be a tour guide, but was informed that it was “policy” that African-Americans could not be tour guides. This example of discrimination was of course not in keeping with the Baha’i teachings on the elimination of prejudice. This quotation from Abdu’l-Baha amply elucidates the Baha’i view:
… as to religious, racial, national and political bias: all these prejudices strike at the very root of human life; one and all they beget bloodshed, and the ruination of the world.
The 2019 European Baha’i Choral Festival was held from May 29 – June 2 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Langenhain, Germany. At this, the second European Baha’i Choral Festival to date, over a hundred participants came together to sing, share music with others and to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe. Continue reading
As celebrations in honour of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, unfolded around the planet special events held at the Baha’i Houses of Worship were live-streamed from the official website for the Bicentenary, bicentenary.bahai.org. The majority of these events were recorded and can now be watched at any time on the Baha’i World Centre’s YouTube channel and we definitely encourage you to take a journey around the world by watching them! Continue reading
The official website of the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, has just added a broadcast schedule of events occurring at many Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.
The schedule, which can be seen in full here, includes a useful indicator of how many hours remain until the broadcast from a specific House of Worship. These celebrations, occurring at Houses of Worship, or Temples, in India, Australia, Samoa, Panama, Cambodia, the United States, Germany, Uganda, Colombia and Chile will be live streamed directly from the bicentenary website: bicentenary.bahai.org Continue reading
Participants of the 2017 European Baha'i Choral Festival gather outside the European Baha'i House of Worship in Germany. (Photo: Zarrin Munusamy)
In a few weeks (May 29-June 2), participants from across Europe will come together at the European Baha’i House of Worship in Germany, to join voices and take part in the European Baha’i Choral Festival! This is the second year the event is taking place, and besides the singing and sharing of glorious music with others, the event aims to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe.
I caught up with the festival’s musical director, Ameli Dziemba, to find out more about the event and to hear about her experiences: Continue reading
I grew up in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and it holds a special place in my heart. I was especially excited when the design of its Baha’i House of Worship was revealed several months ago, and you can read a news story all about the design here.
This House of Worship will be one of two national Baha’i Houses of Worship (also often referred to as temples) to be constructed in the world in the coming years, signifying a new milestone for the Baha’i world community.
Henry Lape (left) and Saeed Granfar, Architects of the National Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea.
It’s incredible to see the uniqueness of the Houses of Worship around the world, and Papua New Guinea’s temple is no exception: it is unlike all the others, yet it is faithful to its surroundings.
Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar are the collaborating architects behind the temple’s stunning design, and I was so excited when these two dear friends agreed to chat with us about the temple. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading
Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
The Baha’i House of Worship in Norte del Cauca, Colombia has recently opened its doors to all, and in this spirit of celebration, we wanted to share some of the posts and resources relating to this unique edifice. We’ve listed things to read, watch, listen to, and study, so in case you missed them, here are a number of materials about this newly dedicated Baha’i temple: Continue reading
Baha’i Houses of Worship (or temples, as they often called) are places of prayer built by Baha’is, but open to people of all faiths, religions and beliefs. In the Baha’i Writings, they are also referred to as Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, which is Arabic for “The Dawning Place of the Mention of God”, and they are not simply buildings, but are considered sacred institutions. Baha’u’llah describes this sacred institution with these words:
O people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which befitteth them […]. Then, with radiance and joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate. Verily, by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.
Commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, A Widening Embrace is a new innovative documentary film about the community-building efforts of the Baha’i world, as seen through the eyes of local populations.
The film has just been made available online here via Bahai.org, the official website for the Baha’i International Community.
The Baha’i World News Service (BWNS) reported that the film was screened at the recent 12th International Baha’i Convention in Haifa, Israel, enriching the consultations of the 1,300 delegates present, as many of the themes discussed over the days of the Convention were highlighted in the practical examples presented in the documentary. Continue reading
The Universal House of Justice wrote a letter to those gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the world’s first local House of Worship (also called a Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, or temple) in Battambang, Cambodia on September 1st, 2017.
The letter highlights the physical, geographical and spiritual context in which the temple was built. The letter can be read in full on the website for the Universal House of Justice here, and we have also quoted it in full below. Continue reading